Parenting

Help: Visiting Washington DC

My husband and I are taking a vacation to Washington DC at the beginning of August with my in-laws. I have been doing some research but I feel very confused with everything. The bus, metro and all the museums and places to visit. We will be staying in Springfield, VA. How the heck do we navigate the public transportation? What do we need to make sure we to while visiting? We will have 6 days to do everything and we only have 1 day planned so far (Arlington National Cemetery). Any DC ladies that can give me some tips?

 Where we are from the only bus we have ever road is the school bus and that was years ago :)

Re: Help: Visiting Washington DC

  • The DC metro is super easy, you can look up the map online and familiarize yourself ahead of time. The lines go by color and stopping point, and when you're on the train, they will announce station names and possible transfer lines, IIRC. I have no experience with the Metro bus, so can't help you there. 

    If you're at a hotel, they very well may have a shuttle to your nearest metro, I'd look into that now so you can figure out if you'll have to worry about navigating to the station and dealing with parking (esp weekdays with work traffic).

    If you're near the Springfield metro stop, you can get to the Mall with just one transfer and that's where all your big museums and monuments and all that will be, for the most part. Arlington is also right on the same line as Springfield.


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  • Thanks ladies. We will be staying at a family members place while we visit. The family member will be out of town so we are on our own. We will have a car to use if needed but I don't know how much driving we will want to do around there. We will also be having someone drive us to Arlington National Cemetery so we have that covered. Do we pay as we go for the metro or do we buy a weekly pass? I am so confused and it is stressing me out!!

  • Don't stress!

    Metro fare, you can either get a day pass or a fare card (one for each traveler) with a particular amount of money on it. The better value depends on how much traveling you're doing and the time of day, rush hour is more expensive. As a tourist, you'll probably benefit from the day pass most days. No idea how much it runs these days, I've been out of the area a few years.

     

    eta: or the Smart trip card that Packer mentions, but that does cost $5 per card. They do save money on the cost of the ride, so it would just depend how much you'll be traveling on whether that would ultimately be worthwhile, financially, for everyone to get one.


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  • image Packerfan79:
    image hollytony:

    Thanks ladies. We will be staying at a family members place while we visit. The family member will be out of town so we are on our own. We will have a car to use if needed but I don't know how much driving we will want to do around there. We will also be having someone drive us to Arlington National Cemetery so we have that covered. Do we pay as we go for the metro or do we buy a weekly pass? I am so confused and it is stressing me out!!

    If you park at the metro, you need a metro smartpass tonget out, they dont take cash at the parking. My suggestion is each of you get a smartpass and add money onto it as you need too. You can buy the passes at the meto stations or online. 

    Seriously? That's silly. Has it always been like that? I always took a school shuttle to the metro and never had to deal with that messiness, thankfully.


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  • Also, be prepared for hot weather. Maybe take an afternoon to explore Pentagon City mall (also right on the blue line) to break up the outdoor exploration.

     


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  • My favorite places to go when we venture into DC are Georgetown (where I promptly run to DC Cupcakes and stuff my face) and the Eastern Market (where I stuff my face again). I would definitely pay attention to the weather and if it's seems like it's going to be super hot you probably want to have some indoor activities planned at some museums to cool off. Have fun!

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  • image LexiLupin:

    Also, be prepared for hot weather. Maybe take an afternoon to explore Pentagon City mall (also right on the blue line) to break up the outdoor exploration.

     

    this.  Do not plan nonstop outdoor activity, or too much walking, it is hot as *** in the summer. 

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  • We went about 4 years ago (worst trip of my life but for personal reasons ahem, the people we went with lol).  Anyway, we booked a trolley tour and it was great because you can get off at whatever stops you like and take your time looking around and then grab another trolley and pick the tour up where you left off.  It will save you from collapsing in the heat trying to walk everywhere.

    http://www.trolleytours.com/washington-dc/how-tour-works.asp

    The metro didn't freak me out but I'm from Boston so the concept is something I'm used to and I know that it's not as complicated as it seems :) 


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  • Well this thread has reaffirmed my thoughts that we shouldn't be visiting my Dad in DC until fall.

     

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    "I love when people believe in conspiracy theories. It immediately tells me I'm smarter than you"- Daniel Tosh.
  • Take a day and go to the DC Zoo, it's a blast.  Admission is free but you pay for parking.  Get there early cause it fills up fast.

    H and I went together for a long weekend when he was in AIT.  We drove into DC and just found an all day parking garage for like $25 and walked around.  You can park on the streets from like 7AM-4PM as well.  We did ALOT of walking, which was fine but be prepared with a little one.

    This was in 2009 so I'm not sure if anything has changed. 


  • image Packerfan79:
    image HilarityEnsued:

    Well this thread has reaffirmed my thoughts that we shouldn't be visiting my Dad in DC until fall.

    Yeah man.  This weather sucks a$$.  I feel bad for all the tourists.

    I have been to DC before and I love it.  I just recall it being such an outdoors city as far as exploring.  

    Georgia has weather that is like Satan's taint.  And even recently when the temperature isn't 115 it is still so humid you feel like you need a machete to cut the air.  I just suck at dealing with hot temps.  

    We're definitely going to come up to DC in the fall.  

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    "I love when people believe in conspiracy theories. It immediately tells me I'm smarter than you"- Daniel Tosh.
  • Oh, I'll also add that the Holocaust museum is something I'm glad we didn't skip.  It was very very emotional but extremely interesting.

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  • image Packerfan79:
    image hollytony:

    Thanks ladies. We will be staying at a family members place while we visit. The family member will be out of town so we are on our own. We will have a car to use if needed but I don't know how much driving we will want to do around there. We will also be having someone drive us to Arlington National Cemetery so we have that covered. Do we pay as we go for the metro or do we buy a weekly pass? I am so confused and it is stressing me out!!

    If you park at the metro, you need a metro smartpass tonget out, they dont take cash at the parking. My suggestion is each of you get a smartpass and add money onto it as you need too. You can buy the passes at the meto stations or online. 

     

    Some of the garages are also pay-by-credit card in addition to the Smartrip cards. 

    Wear comfortable shoes-you can walk to most places in DC without riding the metro, which can sometimes be preferable. You could also buy tickets to the double decker buses where you can hop on and hop off at stops all over the city. I have never done this, and it is a little pricy, but it sounds like it could be good. http://www.dctours.us/?event=offer.detail&offerId=11681.

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  • There is so much to see in DC! I've lived here for 13 years and still feel like I haven't seen everything. It's best to take Metro to the museums...there is no parking in that part of the city. 

    If you like art at all, visit the National Gallery which is just fabulous...the building is even amazing and you can get great gelato and Espresso in the underground between the east and west buildings.

    i second the recommendation of Eastern Market. Great place to spend some time. You can eat at Market lunch which is a local institution and the bakery there has great pie!

    Outside of the city, Mt. Vernon has gorgeous grounds and is a nice visit...I would drive there. Also, Old Town Alexandria is lovely. It's off the metro and there is a free trolley that runs up and down King St. Lots of great shops and restaurants. I recommend, Majestic Cafe, Columbia Fire Station, Hanks Oyster Bar, Eammons Dublin Chipper, Royal st. Thai. 

     Downtown restaurants that I love are Cedar which is kind of a neighborhood place, Jaleo (Spanish tapas) and Central (an amazing French chefs take on American food). 

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